Origin: Costmary is a native of Asia, introduced into Europe in the sixteenth century (1500s), where it became ubiquitious in European gardens until the 1800s.
History: In the Christian Dark Ages (medieval times) costmary was associated with Mary Mother of Jesus and used as a treatment for dysentery. Costmary is an astringent, antiseptic, and aperient. Dried costmary leaves were used as bookmarks in Colonial America, primarily in bibles and hymnals (costmary is sometimes called Bible Leaf). During long sermons, Christians would take a whiff of costmarys minty balsmaic smell or sometimes even chew on the leaf.
Costmary can be used to give a spicy flavor to ales (costmary is sometimes called Alecost). Fresh young leaves may be used in salads. Dried leaves are commonly used in pot-pourri. Costmary leaves can be added to lemonade, iced tea, and other cooled beverages as a garnish.
Costmary is great for bath teas and acts as an astringent.
Fresh costmary leaves may be placed on the bottom of a baking pan before pouring the batter.
Some herbs may be poisonious under some conditions. Exercise appropriate care.
Wild gathering: Avoid wild gathering. Some plants are endangered species. Some plants can be toxic just by touch. Even experts can make deadly misidentifications of wild plants. Please grow your own herbs in your own goddess garden (or window boxes).
Contact Milo, PO Box 1361, Tustin, California, 92781, USA, for information on private and small group lessons in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, California. Low cost or free for the poor. Recommended donation of $25 an hour.
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